Decoupage is the art of gluing paper images to other objects to make them look like they were painted on the object. You can decoupage most types of paper but use paper thick enough so you cannot see images on the paper's reverse side. This works well on flat surfaces but when covering round objects, such as a vase or a decorative ball, you must cut the paper to fit the curve of the object.
Things You'll Need
- Foam Brush
- Silicone Scraper
- Sharp Scissors
- Decoupage Medium
- Steel Wool
Cut out the images you want with sharp scissors. Angle the scissors to the paper at a 45-degree angle. An angled cut is called a bevel. This allows the paper to look better against the object. Avoid selecting large images that will not bend around a curve without modification.
Test fit your images on your surface. To ease curves, cut small darts or V-shaped notches in the paper to make the paper flex around the curves. On larger curved objects, make slits and ease the paper while gluing. Smaller and tighter curves require more aggressive V-cuts. Lay out your exact pattern, making all of your cuts before gluing.
Paint decoupage medium using a foam brush on the object where you want to start. Position the first image. If the image is large, press it into the glue near the middle of the image. Smooth the paper to the surface with your fingers to rub out any bubbles.
Add other images the same way without overlapping any images. Use tweezers to position small images. Use a silicone scraper to smooth out larger images. Allow the first layer to dry completely. Drying time varies. Thin papers dry faster than thick papers.
Apply your second layer. In each layer, add images over existing dry images from the previous layer. Paint medium in the area you want and attach the image from the center out. Smooth out the image. Add images until the second layer is complete. Allow the second layer to dry completely. Apply as many layers as you want, but this adds to the thickness, which makes it harder to create a smoother surface.
Lightly sand areas with steel wool to remove any lumps. Finish your piece by painting eight to 10 coats of decoupage medium over the entire area. Allow each coat to dry completely. Each additional coat makes the piece look more like a painting.
Don't be in a rush when creating decoupage. going slow produces better results than going too fast. Allow your medium to dry completely so there are no white areas.
Find images for your decoupage from magazines or computer clip-art. Other options include wrapping paper, decorative napkins and tissue paper.
F.R.R. Mallory has been published since 1996, writing books, short stories, articles and essays. She has worked as an architect, restored cars, designed clothing, renovated homes and makes crafts. She is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley with bachelor's degrees in psychology and English. Her fiction short story "Black Ice" recently won a National Space Society contest.